If, at the start of the season, someone came back from June 2013 and told you that the Bruins would be in game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final, only they'd be down 3 games to 2 and probably without Patrice Bergeron for the rest of the series, would you take it?
The answer is: "of course", followed by "hey, can I get a ride in the DeLorean?"
Perhaps I'm constructing a straw man here (God knows, it wouldn't be the first time), but I don't really get the widespread despair after the game 5 loss. Boston has a ton of things going for it right now:
Zdeno Chara has just played two of his worst games as a Boston Bruin. I refuse to believe that's going to continue. Indeed, Chara played a much more inspired third period than his previous five.
Dennis Seidenberg probably isn't going to be a human version of a broken mirror again. Any puck luck the Bruins had in game 5 was decidedly bad, and Seidenberg was at the center of it. Of course, the saying goes "you make your own luck", and so it was with the Blackhawks, who played a very strong game 5 and blitzed the net with quality scoring chances. If you attack the net, goofy shit might happen to the other guys, and you can benefit.
- Jonathan Toews might be out. I don't want to sound ghoulish, so let's lead with this: Johnny Boychuk's hit on Toews was dirty and arguably suspension-worthy. But in a game with huge, muscular athletes skating rapidly, guys get hurt and to pretend that an injury to the other team's second best player (depending on how you feel about Patrick Kane) doesn't benefit Boston is dumb. Call a spade a spade: it was a dirty hit, and I won't shed a tear for Boychuk if the someone on the Blackhawks punchisizes him at some point in the future for it, but it might end up benefiting the Bruins.
- I know I've been saying this for what seems like forever, but I can't imagine that Tyler Seguin and Jaromir Jagr will finish the playoffs with one goal between them. With (potentially) two games in the season, it's probably not the time to start thinking about regression to the mean, but these two have been so snake-bit that that they're speaking Parseltongue to each other these days. At some point, it has to change.
Tuukka Rask has frequently been the best player on the ice. With a lesser goaltender, this series would probably already be over. There's no reason he can't steal another game, maybe two. In the playoffs, when you have the better goaltender, you always have a chance, no matter what else is happening. Rask has kept Boston in two straight games despite the five guys in front of him hanging him out to dry. Speaking of which...
- Whatever else you may say about him, Claude Julien can get guys to play defense. There was some improvement in game 5 from the, let's be charitable and call it a poor effort, in game 4, but it wasn't enough. They can do better. They certainly did in game 3.
- Vegas believes in the B's, at least Monday night; the Bruins are a -130 favorite in game 6.
- We probably are done with the "will Carl Soderberg finally play?" nonsense. Soderberg was excellent in game 5, and was probably one of Boston's best forwards. Admittedly, that was a low bar, but still. Soderberg's 14:16 ice time was 6th among forwards; he's here to stay, and that's going to give the bottom 6 forwards some punch that has been lacking.
- Patrice Bergeron might be okay for game 6. Obviously, Jagr didn't just get Wolverine's facial hair, he got his mutant healing factor and found a way to put some in Bergeron's IV at the hospital Saturday night. Now THAT'S a good teammate!
- Perhaps most importantly of all: Corey Crawford's glove hand is still shakier than Aaron Hernandez's alibi.